I’m sure you’ve heard the saying:
“The grass is greener on the other side of the fence”.
The other day, I was taking to newcomers to our area about the pros and cons of living in Fairfax County vs. Loudoun County. Aside from real estate specific reasons, for example, location and affordability of homes, they were very interested in comparing the two school districts.
To answer their question, I called a recent client, Molly, whose family had just been through a similar adventure and had selected to live in Loudoun County.
Molly’s family chose Loudoun Schools vs. Fairfax Schools
Molly said that her family had three main school-based reasons that nudged them toward choosing to live in Loudoun vs Fairfax:
1. Newer Facilities
2. Length of school day, and
I asked her to elaborate on each of the points:
1. Loudoun Schools have Newer Facilities
Loudoun County has been developed from mostly farms into subdivisions in the last 20 years, so the majority of the schools have been built around the same time frame. As we speak, there are a couple of new schools being opened every year or so.
And while newer facilities alone don’t make a school district better than another one, they do help to support modern instruction techniques, and they may provide for a more pleasurable time at school for both students and teachers alike.
Enjoying time at school is certainly an important aspect of a student’s life, especially when they spend many hours at school every day.
2. Loudoun Schools have a longer school day
Loudoun Schools have a 6 hour instructional day , which is half an hour longer than Fairfax’s (and many other districts’) 5.5 state-mandated hours . While this difference might not seem like much, this daily half-hour allows for Loudoun to plan better for inevitable days off, such as when they have to close schools because of weather (they generally don’t have to make up the days).
Also, the Loudoun County Public Schools district has used a “fixed calendar” since the 1990’s which sets which days the students will be off. This helps working parents tremendously with planning ahead for their time off at work during student holidays.
If the weather is mild and there are minimal school closings required, the students accumulate valuable minutes of instruction that, we hope, helps with their education.
Lastly, Molly said that the main reason why she chose to send her kids to Loudoun was because they had full-day Mondays.
3. Loudoun Schools have Full day Mondays
Fairfax County has a policy of partial-day Mondays for elementary schools  in which students have a 4-hour school day vs. the ~6.5 hour school day the rest of the week. This extra time allows for “teacher planning time”.
Many parents in Fairfax County wish that Mondays were a full day as well (and ideally with 6 hours of instruction), not only for the additional instructional opportunities for the kids, but also for planning purposes. The partial-day Monday policy severely affects working parents who need to figure out who will take care of the kids (and keep them out of trouble) every Monday afternoon.
For Molly’s family, the grass is greener in Loudoun
Since Molly and her husband both work outside their home, having a consistent schedule (full day Mondays and a fixed calendar) really helped with their decision to live in Loudoun vs. Fairfax.
To see how Loudoun County High Schools rank vs. Fairfax County High Schools, check out The Ultimate Ranking © :
Northern Virginia High Schools: The Ultimate Ranking ©
This article contains a table with the compilation of 3 different rankings, and an overall ranking assigned to each high school (The Ultimate Ranking ©)
Using this table, you can compare the top Loudoun County High Schools rankings with Fairfax County HS, and Arlington County High Schools.
See homes for sale by Loudoun County High School
If you want to see homes for sale by Loudoun County High School boundary, contact us and we’ll be glad to enable that for you.
* Image by 4nitsirk on Flickr
I looked deeply, and wanted to move to Loudon from Fairfax because of finding more economical and open house but when I did study about schools Loudon is no where close. Keep in mind this is mainly for High School, Loudon do not offer the wide variety of programs offered by Fairfax, choice of the programs offered in Loudon are very limited. This is true for both academics and after school activities. Limited scope for AP and IB programs.
I do agree the facilites are better and newer in Loudon, but we dont send kids to school just for facilities but to learn.
The reason I feel Loudon is not better because they are still growing and learning, maybe in next 5-10 years they would certainly be close in par with FCPS so if the kids are going to elementary school then definetly moving there is better choice but not for kids in high school.
Thanks for your point of view. I am sure that others will find your comment useful and it will help them decide where to buy a home.